Man detained by ICE during green card meeting with American husband
Immigration officials in Philadelphia detained a man during what he thought was a routine meeting as part of the process to obtain a green card.
NBC News reported that Jose Ivan Nuñez and his American husband, Paul Frames, attended a meeting at the Philadelphia office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services late last month.
During the meeting, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained Nuñez.
“The day of the hearing, I had no suspicions at all,” Frames told NBC News.
“I was very confident that the hearing would be fine, and we would be out in less than a half hour. After the fact, looking back, we were sitting ducks.”
The director of Galaei, a Philadelphia-based Latino LGBTQ social justice organization, said everything was “going great.”
“They were told it would only take a couple of minutes,” Nikkie Lopez said.
“But at one point, the interviewer paused in the middle of the interview, and, after a few minutes, ICE officials entered the office and arrested him.”
Nuñez came to the U.S. in 2001. He married Frames in April 2016. Audrey Allen, one of the lawyers working on the case, expressed concern that due to his sexual identity, Nuñez could be in danger if he is sent back to Mexico.
He has been given a “Reasonable Fear Interview,” according to NBC News, to find out the likelihood he will be persecuted if he is sent back to Mexico.
A petition calling for Nuñez’s release says that by detaining him and potentially deporting him, his “wellbeing and safety will be jeopardized.”
“Ivan fled his hometown in Mexico due to fear of being harmed,” the petition states.
“Ivan’s sister, who is also gay, is currently in hiding due to the same fears and he has close friends who have been assaulted for being gay.”
Frames said he has “anxiety, pain, anger and fear” and is “always thinking of the next step to release him.”
He said he speaks with Nuñez a couple of times a week and hopes he will be released on bond soon.